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Crunch Time: Chicago Fire need three points against defending champs NYCFC

Patrick McCraney Avatar
August 20, 2022

With nine games to go, the Chicago Fire need to find somewhere around 16 points to grab a spot in the 2022 MLS Playoffs. The easiest path to get that done: win all five remaining home matches, and draw at least one of the four remaining road games.

They’ll need to take all three points Sunday night against NYCFC. After a couple concerts and a Bears game, the Fire expected the grass to be trashed at Soldier Field, so this one will be played at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview. Fire/NYCFC matches always seem to have a vagabond feel lately–NYCFC had to host Chicago at Citi Field earlier this season (which ended in a 1-0 win for the Cityzens), and the Fire beat the New York side 2-0 at SeatGeek Stadium last fall in Raphael Wicky’s last game in charge.

This match falls in the middle of a very tough stretch for the Fire. Last week saw the team lose 4-1 to Philadelphia. This week it’s third-placed NYCFC, and next weekend Chicago hosts second-placed Montreal.

“Every game that we play is going to be difficult,” Hendrickson said. “We’re all fighting for something, you know. The teams at the top, Philly, Montréal, NYCFC, they’re fighting to keep their position and hope for home field advantage. And the other teams that we’re going to face, the Columbus, the Cincy, New England, Miami, etc., we’re all fighting to get into the playoffs, and every week, it’s like a seesaw.”

Defender Carlos Terán is listed as questionable, but he’s a good bet to return to the lineup alongside Rafael Czichos this week. If he does, Mauricio Pineda can slide to midfield in place of Gastón Giménez, who is out with a hamstring issue he suffered against Philly.

Shaq is dishing

Xherdan Shaqiri has provided an assist on four of the Fire’s last five goals, including the last three in a row. Shaqiri has scored (4) or assisted (11) more than half (15/28) of the Fire’s MLS goals this season.

Going to the match?

If you’re driving, parking will be $25 at SeatGeek. The Fire are also running Pub to Pitch busses from three locations, starting at 3:30 p.m.

  • Heineken Pub97 at Fire Pitch (3626 N Talman Ave, Chicago, IL 60618)
  • Roots Pizza (1924 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622)
  • One City Tap (3115 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60608)

How to Watch

Chicago Fire vs. NYCFC

MLS Match Day #26 | Sunday, August 21 | SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview, IL

Kickoff: 5 p.m. CT

TV: WGN-TV

Streaming: CF97 Live (available for free at ChicagoFire.com or the Chicago Fire mobile app for fans watching within 75 miles of Soldier Field)

Out of Market Streaming: ESPN+

Talent: Arlo White (play-by-play), Tony Meola (color commentator), Tyler Terens (Your friendly sideline reporter. He works hard and plays even harder.)

Follow Us! @CHGO_Fire

Injury Report

Chicago

  • QUESTIONABLE: Jhon Espinoza (right knee)
  • QUESTIONABLE: Carlos Teran (right thigh)
  • OUT: Wyatt Omsberg (left foot)
  • OUT: Stanislav Ivanov (right thigh)
  • OUT: Gastón Giménez (right thigh)

NYCFC

  • OUT: Keaton Parks (calf)
  • OUT: Alexander Callens (MCL)
  • OUT: Gabriel Pereira (lower body)
  • QUESTIONABLE: Tayvon Gray (questionable)

Next Up for Chicago

Saturday, August 27 | vs. CF Montreal | Soldier Field, Chicago | 7 p.m. CT, WGN

Wednesday, August 31 | at New England Revolution | Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA | 6:30 p.m. CT, WGN

Saturday, September 3 | at Columbus Crew | Lower.com Field, Columbus, OH | 6:30 PM WGN

Saturday, September 10 | vs Inter Miami | SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview, IL |  7:00 PM WGN

Tuesday, September 13 | at CF Montreal | Stade Saputo, Montreal, QC, Canada | 6:30 PM WGN

Saturday, September 17 vs Charlotte FC | Soldier Field, Chicago | 7:00 PM WGN

Prediction

Our friends at PointsBet have the Fire as slight favorites (+135 to +185, with a draw coming in at +260). NYCFC have dropped three in a row, and we say that continues Sunday. The Fire will win 2-0, and stay firmly in the playoff race.

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